Article by Mady McColm
Imagine a haunted house, but instead of scary ghosts and ghouls jumping out at you, you’ve got a house full of people asking what you’re doing after you graduate, who you’re dating, and what your grades look like this semester. Oh wait, that’s Thanksgiving.
Even scarier than Halloween, Thanksgiving has some hard waters to navigate. Respecting everyone’s political opinion while trying to get your family to validate your existence as a student a liberal arts university can be challenging, but we are here to help! Take our advice to have a smooth turkey day.
Who are you dating?
What seems like a simple question can easily be a loaded gun. Depending on how you answer, more questions can follow including those about grandkids and meeting said significant other.
The good thing is, you’ve got several options with this question that can still make you sound good without making you sound like a loser, especially if you’re single.
A. “I’m just trying to concentrate on school right now.”
You’ll get the brownie points for your focus, even if your family is ready for you to pop out some babies.
B. Redirect with conversations about your friends, job, or future.
Sometimes if your family can see that you’re happy without a signficant other, then they won’t push the issue. Sometimes.
C. “It’s just me and (insert name of pet) for now.”
Even if you have to buy a goldfish for this event, it can be worth it to avoid awkward relationship advice from your great aunt on her third marriage.
Tip: If you are seeing someone but you’re not ready for it to be at least Facebook official, DO NOT MENTION IT. Your family will drain you for every ounce of information you have about that person and you will feel obligated to show them the three pictures that you have saved from their Tinder profiles,. Trust us, avoid that conversation.
What are your plans after graduation?
My personal preference is to start crying right then and there, but that’s not always great in a somewhat public setting. Some ideas to save face are:
A. Straight up lie.
Just tell your nosy, lawyer uncle exactly what he wants to hear: that you’re going to use the art degree that you’re so proud of to work as a designer for a major corporation. If your plans “happen to change” and you end up crashing in your parent’s basement while you do freelance, how is he supposed to know the difference.
B. “I’m keeping my options open.”
That’s not a lie. You just don’t know what those are yet.
C. Name drop some grad schools.
You don’t have to have applied. Just impress them with the possibility of higher education and defer them from how miserably you’re behind in just your undergrad classes.
No matter what you say, someone in your family will disagree with your life choices. You just have to be confident in yourself and your choices.
How are your classes this semester?
First tip: try not to laugh outloud. We all know that the last thing you want to talk about on your vacation is school, especially at this stage in the semester.
But your family wants desperately to relate to you and probably doesn’t always know what to say to an intelligent, confident 20 something, so try to be nice when you answer.
A. Fird one thing you like about one class that you know would be interesting to the relative that asked and talk about that thing.
Maybe you won’t be too triggered if you don’t have to talk about the 10 page research paper you haven’t started yet because you’re at dinner with your family. Don’t give an overview, narrow it down,. Especially since your family might not understand what you’re studying.
B. “How are YOUR classes this semester, (insert name of relative)?”
It’s cheeky, but it can deflect the conversation. Until Uncle Bob explains that he’s gone back to finish his associates and tells you about his gen ed philosophy class.
C. “I’m dying.”
Sometimes, honesty is the best policy. This can at least get a giggle out of your family when the conversation is directed at you.
When did you get that?
hen someone in your family would bring up your new piercing or tattoo. But inevitably, it will catch you off guard, especially if you planned to hide it.
A. Tell them all about it!
If you have a cool family that likes body modifications, celebrate that. Maybe you can set a date to get matching tats with your second cousin next time.
B. “I’m trying it out.”
You weren’t planning for your septum to accidentally flip out, or your sleeve rolled up too high and now your ultra conservative family has seen how your liberal arts education has corrupted you. Remind them that piercings can be taken out and that they’re getting better lazer treatments for unwanted tattoos. Remind them that it’s ultimately your body and you have exclusive right to what you use your body for.
C. “And there’s more where that came from!”
Acknowledge to your family openly that Satan has claimed you and you have no regrets about your various body modifications. Heck,. next Thanksgiving, you’ll show up with your head shaved and a pentagram necklace.
*Something about Trump, Weinstein, guns, terrorism, etc.*
Run. Just run. No matter what you say about politics, you will be wrong according to someone in your family. If you want to get out alive, don’t bring it up, avoid direct questions about polticis, and don’t be involved in discussion. There will be blood and you’ve still got finals to get back to.
Ultimately, Thanksgiving exists as a designated time for you to spend “quality time” with people that you hate for the rest of the year. But it doesn’t have to be. Try to find the qualities about your bigoted aunt that you enjoy, and work towards respecting your grandpa even if he doesn’t respect you. Because each of those people, in their own sick, twisted ways, loves you.
You can and will survive Thanksgiving. Well, depending on if you sign up for the Turkey Tot 5K or not.
We hope these tips helped a bit, and happy holidays from The Mirror staff!